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post #1 of 1429 Old 12-04-2008, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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MediaPortal Install Guide

0. Introduction and pre-requisites

MediaPortal is an open-source and free full-fledged HTPC front-end. It does everything you can ask for in a media center: video playback, music playback, photo viewing, weather, TV tuning and recording, etc. It has wide community support and thanks to it's excellent plug-in and skinning framework, there are lots of community-developed extensions you can pick and choose to make it your own. It is far more configurable than Windows Media Center, and it works out-of-the-box with the MCE remote. And because it provides so much more configuration some find it a daunting task to install and configure. Therefore, this guide will help alleviate some of that burden and help get a MediaPortal installation up & running. This guide is not intended to replace the wonderful MediaPortal documentation, but rather to introduce the AVS community to MediaPortal and provide a quick and easy set-up guide. If you need more details on configuration, TV tuning, etc. than what is provided below, then please visit: MediaPortal Wiki or MediaPortal Community Forums.

Before continuing, I would recommend you start with a clean system that has no decoders already installed and especially no decoder "packs". Ideally, that would mean a fresh install of Windows XP or Vista (preferred) with only the absolute necessary drivers and some essential software (e.g. Firefox).

1. Update system software

To ensure stability of your system, it's a good idea to keep it up to date with the latest drivers and system software.
  • Windows Updates: Run Windows Update and install the essential and recommended updates. Especially the "reliability" or "compatibility" packs. If you don't already have it, then install the latest service pack for your OS (SP2 for Vista, SP3 for XP).
  • Update your DirectX End-user Runtime: Usually the one that comes with Vista is rather outdated. Get the latest here: DirectX End-user Runtime

2. Install recommended decoders

Before installing MediaPortal itself, it's a good idea to install and set up some of the essential and recommended decoders:
  • Haali Media Splitter: The de facto video file parser. Direct download link: Haali Media Splitter.
  • ffdshow: Download the latest and greatest build from here: ffdshow SVN builds, e.g. ffdshow_rev2405_20081201_clsid.exe. Run the installer to install and configure the video and audio decoders.
  • AC3Filter: For those that use SPDIF out on your systems, this is the best-performing audio decoder. Get it here: AC3Filter. Download and run the installer. Once it's installed, run it's configuration (in your Start Menu) and enable the "Use SPDIF" checkbox if you plan to pass-through all AC3 and DTS to your receiver.
  • MPC Video Decoder: The best, free DXVA-capable H.264/AVC/VC-1 decoder. Direct download link to version 1.2.908.0: MPC Video Decoder.
    • Download the zip file to a safe location.
    • Create the following folder under your Program Files: C:\\Program Files\\MPCVideoDecoder.
    • From the zip file you downloaded extract MPCVideoDec.ax to C:\\Program Files\\MPCVideoDecoder.
    • From the Start menu select Run and type in the following command: regsvr32 "C:\\Program Files\\MPCVideoDecoder\\MPCVideoDec.ax". You should get a pop-up message telling you the filter/file was registered successfully. That means the decoder is installed and registered on your system.
    • Now that the decoder is registered on your system it has to be configured for DXVA. Get RadLight Filter Manager here: RadLight Filter Manager. Run it, and under DirectShow Filters select "MPC - Video decoder" and hit the Property Page button. Now in MPC Video Decoder's properties, go to the Codecs tab and enable all of the check boxes, particularly "H.264/AVC (DXVA)" and "VC1 (DXVA)".
  • Extras:
    • If you care for subtitles, you may want to install VsFilter (current version is 2.37) and set Haali Media Splitter to "Autoload VSFilter" but be warned that this breaks hardware acceleration (DXVA) of H.264/AVC/VC-1 video. Or you can try this patch which incorporates the MPC subtitle engine and allows subtitles without breaking hardware acceleration: Integration of MPC-HC subtitle's engine.
    • CoreAVC, Cyberlink PowerDVD 7/8 are alternative H.264/AVC/VC-1 codecs worth installing and testing, but neither are free and CoreAVC does not support hardware acceleration (purely a software decoder, good for less powerful CPUs and those with no GPU hardware acceleration capabilities).

3. Install & configure MediaPortal, StreamedMP skin, TvSeries plugin, and MovingPictures plugin

This is it! Time to install and configure MediaPortal itself.
  • Download and install the latest MediaPortal (currently 1.0.2): The latest version of MediaPortal can always be found here: MediaPortal installer. Download the installer and run it. I recommend doing an Advanced installation, and NOT touching the default installation path (lots of plugins and skins seem to rely on this path and there's no guarantee things will work if you change the default installation path). If you have a TV tuner card and plan to use MediaPortal to watch TV, then select "Yes" when prompted for that. This will install the TvServer and will require you install MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server. I won't cover TV tuning at this point. At the end of the MediaPortal installation, choose not to run the configuration tool right away. We'll configure MediaPortal a little later on.
  • Download and install the latest StreamedMP skin (currently Beta v0.8.448): The latest installer for the StreamedMP skin can be found here: StreamedMP skin installer. Download and run the installer. When prompted to select the features to install make sure "MovingPictures", "TvSeries" and "RSS" plugins are selected (I just leave all the default settings). When prompted to choose the layout for TvSeries or MovingPictures, I like to go with the "Fan art oriented" ones, but the choice is yours. Note: If you previously had an older version of StreamedMP installed then you will have to uninstall it before installing this latest version (make sure to back-up any changes/modification you've made to the skin and porting them back in manually once the new version is installed).
  • Configure MediaPortal: From the Start Menu (or Desktop) shortcut launch MediaPortal Configuration. Choose "Advanced settings" and enable the "Don't ask again" checkbox and press the Ok button. You'll now be prompted with all of the possible configuration options. I'll try to cover each section one at a time to make things a little clearer:
    • General: Here I enable the following options: Start with basic home screen; Start MediaPortal in fullscreen mode; Use alternative fullscreen Splashscreen; Keep MediaPortal always on top; Autostart MediaPortal on Windows startup; Hide file extensions like .mp3, .avi, .mpg,...; Enable animations / transitions; Allow S3 standby although wake up devices are present. I also like to set the Log verbosity (logging level) to Warning (for performance reasons). Sub-sections:
      • Skin: Choose StreamedMP and enable the "Use string prefixes (e.g. TV = My TV)" check box.
      • Watchdog: Usually enabled by default, so just turn it off. Good for posting logs to the MediaPortal forums for testing but not needed for general use.
      • Daemon Tools: If you have Daemon Tools installed point MediaPortal to it here for mounting ISO files.
    • Movies: Set default zoom mode to Normal and choose the Allowed Zoom Modes as you please. Sub-sections:
      • Movie Folders & Database: Changing this is not absolutely necessary since we'll be using the MovingPictures plug-in for all of our movies, but feel free to add any folders here and do a file scan to fill the database.
      • Movie Player: Set the following decoders: MPEG-2 video decoder: ffdshow Video Decoder; H.264 video decoder: MPC - Video decoder; Audio decoder: AC3Filter (or ffdshow if not doing SPDIF pass-through); Audio renderer: Choose your audio/sound device from this list (preferable something pre-pended with "DirectSound:").
      • Movie Extensions: Add any movie extensions here that are not already listed.
    • DVD, Television, Radio, Music, Pictures: I won't cover these configuration sections yet (especially since most of these sections are quite self-explanatory).
    • Remote: Choose your remote of choice here. If you're using the MCE remote, then simply enable the "Use Microsoft MCE remote or keyboard" checkbox and everything will work great out-of-the-box.
    • Weather: Add your cities of choice here. Your default city will be the one at the top of the list.
    • DirectShow Filter Control:
      • Video Renderer Settings: Choose Enhanced Video Renderer if you're on Vista or XP with .NET 3.0 Framework.
  • Configure the MovingPictures plugin: Launch MediaPortal Configuration and choose the Plugins section in the left-hand pane. You'll see all your plugins listed on the right-hand side. Under "Window Plugins", right-click on "Moving Pictures" and choose "Configuration":
    • Movie Importer tab: Press the "+" button and one or more paths where you store your videos/movies. MovingPictures will automatically fetch all the movie details online and show a list of all the movies it managed to match in the Media Importer sub-section. Double-check any movies it failed to find an exact match for (indicated by a red dot) and manually choose the right movie and press the green check mark button.
    • Movie Manager tab: Here you can edit individual movies imported by MovingPictures, choose cover art, change the sort order of movies, etc.
    • Advanced Settings tab: There are a whole slew of settings here that I won't cover here. Fiddle with them as you desire.
  • Configure the TvSeries plugin: Launch MediaPortal Configuration and choose the Plugins section in the left-hand pane. You'll see all your plugins listed on the right-hand side. Under "Window Plugins", right-click on "MP-TV Series" and choose "Configuration":
    • Import Settings tab: Add the location of your TV episodes/series here under Import Paths. Add or edit simple or regular expression string matching under Parsing Expressions. Run a Parsing Test to see how many of your episodes match successfully. When you're satisfied with the Parsing Test results, press the Start Import button at the bottom. Some options worth enabling under Online Data Sync include: Automatically choose Series when only one exact match is found online; Download Series Posters instead of Banners; Watch my import folders for changes automatically.
    • MediaPortal Display Control tab: Under Series View Settings choose Graphical format and enable the "Sort Series using the Sort Name instead of the Pretty Name" checkbox. Under Season View Settings choose Graphical format. Under Logo Configuration click the Import... hyperlink and browse to C:\\Program Files\\Team MediaPortal\\MediaPortal\\skin\\StreamedMP and select the StreamedMP.logoRules file.
  • Configure the RSS plugin: Launch MediaPortal Configuration and choose the Plugins section in the left-hand pane. You'll see all your plugins listed on the right-hand side. Under "Process Plugins", right-click on "MP-RSS Ticker" and choose "Configuration":
    • RSS Ticker settings section: Enable the "RSS Ticker enabled" checkbox; enter your favorite RSS feed (e.g. http://rss.cnn.com/rss/cnn_mostpopular.rss); leave items at 10; leave separator as "::"; enable the "Auto refresh enabled" checkbox.
    • Weather settings section: Enable the "Weather enabled" checkbox; enable the "Auto refresh enabled" checkbox.

That's it, you're pretty much done and should have MediaPortal up and running!

At this point, your MediaPortal set up should be up and running and should look like the screenshots below. If you run into issues, or want to explore further (e.g. TV tuning), then visit the MediaPortal forums where there is excellent support and help from the MP community: MediaPortal Community Forums

Good luck folks!

Home screen/main menu - "Watch Movies"


Home screen/main menu - "Watch A Blu-Ray"


TV Series


Moving Pictures - List View


Moving Pictures - Thumbnail View


On-screen display during video playback


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post #2 of 1429 Old 12-04-2008, 02:49 PM
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Nice write up OP. A few thoughts:

1) Please add a section on playing blu-ray ISOs using for instance either powerdvd/arcsoft TMT through the frontend. BTW, I absolutely love moving pictures. Did they end up adding support for blu-ray ISOs so it shows up? Some of the fanart is just absolutely stunning.

2) Are you sure we need FFDshow+ac3filter? I use SPDIF and the latest MPC-HC + Haali seems to be enough to run most of the MKV/XVID/DIVX I throw at it, though I bitstream the audio. Also do we need vsfilter? I seem to recall just checking the box in MPC to show subtitles from MKV. Also is the registration of the MPC codec required? I don't remember ever doing that. I'm guessing that gives me the ability to play movies outside MPC?

Thanks!
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post #3 of 1429 Old 12-04-2008, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ymarker View Post

Nice write up OP. A few thoughts:

1) Please add a section on playing blu-ray ISOs using for instance either powerdvd/arcsoft TMT through the frontend. BTW, I absolutely love moving pictures. Did they end up adding support for blu-ray ISOs so it shows up? Some of the fanart is just absolutely stunning.

2) Are you sure we need FFDshow+ac3filter? I use SPDIF and the latest MPC-HC + Haali seems to be enough to run most of the MKV/XVID/DIVX I throw at it, though I bitstream the audio. Also do we need vsfilter? I seem to recall just checking the box in MPC to show subtitles from MKV. Also is the registration of the MPC codec required? I don't remember ever doing that. I'm guessing that gives me the ability to play movies outside MPC?

Thanks!

I used the mpc-hc standalone codecs for a while in MP and I had to register them with regsvr32 to get them to display in mediaportal and have configuration dialogs in the mediaportal configuration.

However, I'm currently in codec hell as I can't seem to get consistent HA and SPDIF pass-through with .mkv (x264), .mp4, and .wmv files. WMV files always have perfect HA video but never seem to pass through proper 5.1 DD. There is some filter that is converting the 5.1 audio to stereo and then passing it along to AC3Filter. MKVs never seem to get HA (even if they were encoded in the right profile) and MP4s never seem to display right (won't allow you to skip, choppy playback)

I'm not even about to start trying to get subtitles to work in my handful of foreign films.

Arg.
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post #4 of 1429 Old 12-04-2008, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ymarker View Post

Nice write up OP. A few thoughts:

1) Please add a section on playing blu-ray ISOs using for instance either powerdvd/arcsoft TMT through the frontend. BTW, I absolutely love moving pictures. Did they end up adding support for blu-ray ISOs so it shows up? Some of the fanart is just absolutely stunning.

There's no elegant way to play BluRay ISOs directly in MediaPortal, so the way I do it is I use the HD_Starter plug-in to launch PowerDVD. I'll add some instructions on that once I step through re-installing it on my system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ymarker View Post

2) Are you sure we need FFDshow+ac3filter? I use SPDIF and the latest MPC-HC + Haali seems to be enough to run most of the MKV/XVID/DIVX I throw at it, though I bitstream the audio. Also do we need vsfilter? I seem to recall just checking the box in MPC to show subtitles from MKV. Also is the registration of the MPC codec required? I don't remember ever doing that. I'm guessing that gives me the ability to play movies outside MPC?

Don't confuse MPC-HC with MediaPortal: MPC-HC uses alot of built-in decoders by default unless you tell it not to. MediaPortal actually allows you to select exactly which decoders to use and that's why you need to register the MPC Video Decoder so it can be used outside of MPC-HC. Same thing for subtitles.
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post #5 of 1429 Old 12-04-2008, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daMaster View Post

There's no elegant way to play BluRay ISOs directly in MediaPortal, so the way I do it is I use the HD_Starter plug-in to launch PowerDVD. I'll add some instructions on that once I step through re-installing it on my system.

Is there a way to integrate the Moving Pictures plugin with .iso files? I like the Moving Pictures interface with all the information, but am trying to get my .isos to show up so I can launch in Arcsoft TMT from there for Blu-Ray playback.

Great guide so far.
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post #6 of 1429 Old 12-04-2008, 07:53 PM
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Awesome thread. After 5 years of using a HTPC I've only just decided to start using Media Portal. I think I was sold after I got the MyTVSeries plug in going. Damn that is sexy stuff right there.

I shall have to get my films going next.

EDIT: Damn that is one sexy skin. Even sexier than the ones I was using (Indigo 2.3)
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post #7 of 1429 Old 12-04-2008, 08:37 PM
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Awesome write-up thus far.
Just what a noob like me needs.
I just got my HP m9400t today so this is extremely helpful:
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- No TV Tuner w/remote control
- Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium

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post #8 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 12:22 AM
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What is the difference between the StreamedMP skin you have linked here and the MediaStream skin from the MP website?
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post #9 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 03:03 AM
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great intro - have you posted it in the MP forum? if not, i think you should
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post #10 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 04:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrothyDog View Post

What is the difference between the StreamedMP skin you have linked here and the MediaStream skin from the MP website?

These are two different skins (different authors)
both aiming at porting the xbox mediastream skin to mediaportal.
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post #11 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 04:25 AM
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I would switch to this as well as long as it plays nicely with power dvd 8 or totalmedia....if it does, cool....one thing I heard is getting the imon and harmony working on it together is a pain, which is also changing my mind, but it is a great front end...thanks for the guide

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post #12 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 05:35 AM
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I have it working with PDVD 8, basically when I chose the menu option, it exits MediaPortal and launched PDVD full screen. Pressing exit on my remote will quit PDVD and re-launch MP.

Originally it simply minimized MP so it was a smoother swap - but i found that quitting and re-launching was more reliable.
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post #13 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 05:41 AM
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I use blu-ray isos's. One click on the iso and daemon tools(via MediaPortal) will mount it, then Vistas own auto-play feature will start up PowerDVD 8 and the film will play. The stop button on my remote exits PowerDVD and I'm back at MediaPortal. MediaPortal runs behind PowerDVD, don't really see any point in exiting and restarting MP.
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post #14 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 06:19 AM
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I had to exit MediaPortal as otherwise every now and then it would give me DirextX errors. Maybe that issue is now resolved, I have not re-tested.
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post #15 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer_cast View Post

I would switch to this as well as long as it plays nicely with power dvd 8 or totalmedia....if it does, cool....one thing I heard is getting the imon and harmony working on it together is a pain, which is also changing my mind, but it is a great front end...thanks for the guide

dreamer


Try these links regarding the iMon and Harmony. I didn't have a chance last night to do it, but I'm going to sometime Saturday.

http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/ht...-wanted-35598/

http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/ge...guration-2299/
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post #16 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 06:28 AM
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Thanks for that great tutorial. My MP installation went without a hitch! It works beautifully. I like the skin too. I wish they had a 16x9 of the Project Mayhem skin, since that's what my kids and I had gotten used to from several years of Xbox usage. For me, I love XBMC, but the inability to use 3rd party codecs in an HTPC setting is a killer.

I have a question though. Is there any way on the movies listing to display a screen of covers? Kind of like the way the pictures in this thread show the various TV shows being displayed? I know MyMovies does it, but I just don't like it as much.

One of the things that I find appealing about VMC is that you can go to a movie directory and see a bunch of covers on a single screen. A person can browse through visuall really quickly and get an idea of what he wants and then go and pick and choose. With the layout for this skin, in the movies section, you have to go through them one by one.

I just need to experiment with things and check out the MP forums. But, this is a winner for sure. Now, I just have to get my iMon and Logitech remote configured. I saw what is hopefully a solution on the forums at MP.

One last thing. The version on the MP website is 1.0.0.0 RC4. I changed the XML to reflect that. Was that okay? Things seem to be working fine.

Also, I have to admit to one more thng. I know people on here hate codec packs, but I had CCCP installed from before. So, I just installed the latest version over my old one, and it worked great. The CCCP pack has all the codecs listed in the tutorial. I may substitute the latest version of ffdshow for the slightly older one in CCCP. I don't think it's needed, but it's hard not to tinker.
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post #17 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 06:42 AM
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I always thought MediaPortal used its own internal subtitle engine and not VSFilter, a bit like MPC in Renderless mode, and so you didn't lose hardware acceleration when watching subtitled videos with it. Are you sure it uses VSFilter for subtitling?
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How to I switch from "List View" to "Filmstrip View" in Streamedmp?
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post #19 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdubbs23 View Post

Is there a way to integrate the Moving Pictures plugin with .iso files? I like the Moving Pictures interface with all the information, but am trying to get my .isos to show up so I can launch in Arcsoft TMT from there for Blu-Ray playback.

Great guide so far.

I haven't tried it but I believe you just have to add the .iso extension to the list of extensions in MediaPortal Configuration under the Movies section.
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post #20 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrothyDog View Post

What is the difference between the StreamedMP skin you have linked here and the MediaStream skin from the MP website?

Different authors. The StreamedMP skin comes with an installer and seems to be more stable and has more support. It's more stream-lined
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post #21 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhysevans View Post

great intro - have you posted it in the MP forum? if not, i think you should

Haven't posted it there yet. I was motivated to post it here because of the VMC thread where people complained about the complexity of installing MediaPortal.

I'll post it over at the MP forums as well.
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post #22 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 09:34 AM
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I hope this great thread sparks the use of MP among more AVS users. It's just so much better than VMC...
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post #23 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty2k1 View Post

I hope this great thread sparks the use of MP among more AVS users. It's just so much better than VMC...

The funny thing is I was motivated to put this guide together because of the VMC thread where people were telling noobs how great VMC is and I was like Once you use MediaPortal there's absolutely no way you're going back to VMC!
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post #24 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by GooberedUp View Post

Try these links regarding the iMon and Harmony. I didn't have a chance last night to do it, but I'm going to sometime Saturday.

http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/ht...-wanted-35598/

http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/ge...guration-2299/

Thanks, maybe I'll tackle it this weekend....

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post #25 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 11:08 AM
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I think the skin needs a bit more time in the kitchen, along with the tv plug in and the film plug in.

That said, I'm using Indigo 2.3 with the TV and Film plug in and doing alright, only a few minor bugs that will get fixed down the line.
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post #26 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daMaster View Post

The funny thing is I was motivated to put this guide together because of the VMC thread where people were telling noobs how great VMC is and I was like Once you use MediaPortal there's absolutely no way you're going back to VMC!


It's funny. But people say that about MyMovies as well, when comparing it to VMC. Yet, my 12 year old daughter prefers VMC over MM because she can see more covers at the same time. It requires less scrolling and so is less annoying.

I think like research shows, women look at technology as tools and not toys (unlike men). I like the eye candy.
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post #27 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 12:10 PM
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Personally, I'm a fan of the SpinPoint 1080 skin.

I do love media portal!!!

My Band: Scotch on Sunday
360 and PS3 owner
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post #28 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GooberedUp View Post

It's funny. But people say that about MyMovies as well, when comparing it to VMC. Yet, my 12 year old daughter prefers VMC over MM because she can see more covers at the same time. It requires less scrolling and so is less annoying.

I think like research shows, women look at technology as tools and not toys (unlike men). I like the eye candy.


I hate the eye candy. I just want it to WORK!
(OK I don't hate the eye candy but its hard enough getting it to work without worrying if it looks good or not)

It's probably why I use the default skin in MP.

It should be noted however that I use my HTPC solely for media playback, not TV use. I just want to go to a movies section and have all my movies at my fingertips, to play perfectly with the highest quality sound and picture. I also want my HTPC to function like a jukebox for when friends are over and we are making "dynamic" playlists if you will. Think "Hey this song sucks I want to change it" sorta thing.
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post #29 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 12:35 PM
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last time I tried MP I had two problems:

1) A line of pixels of the video will show on its opposite side. Hard to explain, but it had to do with using EVR renderer

2) Turning substitles on and off using the remote.

I guess I will try it again, but last time I had resort to using the MPC-HC. Eventually I just used Windows Explorer and a mouse and keyboard to play video, and uninstalled mediaportal.
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post #30 of 1429 Old 12-05-2008, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty2k1 View Post

I hate the eye candy. I just want it to WORK!
(OK I don't hate the eye candy but its hard enough getting it to work without worrying if it looks good or not)

It's probably why I use the default skin in MP.

It should be noted however that I use my HTPC solely for media playback, not TV use. I just want to go to a movies section and have all my movies at my fingertips, to play perfectly with the highest quality sound and picture. I also want my HTPC to function like a jukebox for when friends are over and we are making "dynamic" playlists if you will. Think "Hey this song sucks I want to change it" sorta thing.

I agre. My HTPC is used for movies and music--no TV. For that reason, VMC is nice. Nothing fancy, just a pleasant simple interface.
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